21/04/2024

Collingwood celebrate the winning goal in a thriller against the Saints. (Photo: Twitter/Collingwood FC)

In one of its most competitive performances in its short history, only a last-minute Collingwood goal prevented St Kilda from notching an amazing victory.

Collingwood’s inaccuracy kept the game close throughout the day, yet it was St Kilda who had the chance to seal the game in the last three minutes, only for Nicola Stevens to miss an easy opportunity at goal.

Collingwood made no such mistake, with Eliza James kicking a great goal to win it for the Pies by two points.

Inaccuracy, inaccuracy, inaccuracy

In what was a tightly fought contest, full of high-quality skills, great marks, and daring runs, the inaccuracy in front of goal left firstly Collingwood ruing lost chances, then St Kilda ruing one key chance.

The Magpies dominated much of the opening term, with the Saints capitalising on their only real two genuine entries. Meanwhile, the Pies peppered the goals, only to finish with two goals and four behinds for all their efforts.

This was the theme for the majority of the day – and Pies fans would have thought it would cost them victory.

When Sabrina Frederick marked straight in front with three minutes to go, Saints fans’ shoulders slumped, only for her to miss. The Saints then beautifully transitioned from one end to the other, only for Nicola Stevens to have her turn to miss what she normally would have kicked.

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Opposing game styles

It was a hard-fought game around the contest, one of which was largely won by the Pies. Jaimee Lambert was a class above, proving impossible to tackle as she set up countless opportunities in the forward 50 for her side. Ash Brazill also proved to be a handful, using her left foot with penetration to surge the Pies forward.

The Saints, on the other hand, relied a lot on the counter-attack, using long-kicking and good marking to effect to gain territory quickly and set up their goals. St Kilda made the most of its opportunities, with Kate Shierlaw, in particular, a great target up forward and any time a down-the-line mark was needed.

Hannah Stuart was clearly St Kilda’s best, often the key link heading into the forward 50 or kicking the goal herself. Stuart finished with two goals and 25 disposals.

Unique sub-plots

In a tremendous advertisement for AFLW, there were a couple of unique sub-plots adding intrigue to the game. Former AFL players Nathan Burke and Gavin Brown had their daughters line up against each other, with Tarnie Brown laying nine tackles in a relentless forward 50 pressure display, and Lucy Burke running the wings of Moorabbin like her dad once did.

In another unique sub-plot involving Brown, St Kilda ruck Simone Nalder was Brown’s teacher when she was in high school. You can only imagine the thoughts going through their heads about laying a tackle on their teacher/student.

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